William Fraser.

The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2) online

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King, being a charter by David King of Scots, under the Great Seal, confirming a
^ Beauly. - Original Charter belonging to Colonel Ross of Cromarty.



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TEE BAROSY AA^I) CASTLE OF CROMARTIE.



449



gift made by "William Earl of Eoss to Alexander of Saint Clair, son of the late
Thomas of Saint Clair, of the whole davach of land of Bray within the marsh of
Fernewyre, in the sheriffdom of Inverness, to be held as freely as the charter of
the Earl to the said Alexander made thereupon proports. Saving the King's
service. Confirmation dated at Dundee, 1st November, forty-first year of the
King's reign. Instrument taken at the Cathedral church of Elgyne. Witnesses, —
James Stewart, Dean of Moray, etc. Certified by William Brynneth, Presbyter of
Moray, notary public.^

An inquest was held at " Cromathy" on the 18th November 1475, before
John Legat, Sheriff-depute of " Cromathi" in that part, by John Monroy of
Foulis, and other persons of inquest, finding that William Wrchard, late Sheriff of
Cromathy, died last vest and seised in the barony of Cromathy and of the Mot
Hjdl and the Sheriffship thereof, and that Master Alexander Wrchart was his
lawful and nearest heir in these lauds and office, and was of lawful age ; and that
the lands were valued at forty -two merks, and were held of the King in chief for
the service of ward and relief, and were then in the King's hands, by reason of the
rightful heir not having prosecuted his right from the death of the said William
Vrchard, who died on the 8th September of that year."

John Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles gave a precept to John Monro of
Fowlis, and David of Dunnown, for infefting Mr. Alexander Wrchart, son of the
deceased William Wrchart, knight, Sheriff of Crommati, of good memory, as his
heir, through decease of William Urchart, his late brother. Lord of Crommati last
deceased, in all and sundry his lands lying in his Earldom of Eoss, within the
Sheriffdom of Inverness, the said Mr. Alexander being of lawful age. The lands
to be held of the Earl in chief. Given at Ila, the last day of October 1475.^

Besides being owners of Cromartie, the Urquharts v/ere for centuries the here-
ditary sheriffs of the shire. During their possession, the family produced several
eminent members. The most remarkable man in the family was Sir Thomas
Urquhart, a great genealogical genius, who traced his descent, with great gravity,
from Adam and Noah, through a long line of illustrious ancestors. Sir Thomas
was possessed of a very lively imagination, and he drew largely on the credulity
of his countrymen.

The Kalendar of Fearn has an entry of a melancholy occurrence in the castle



1 Original Instrument belonging to Colonel
Ross of Cromarty.
VOL. II.



- Original Service ibidem.
^ Ibidem.



3 L



450 THE BARONY AXD CASTLE OF CROMARTIE.

of Cromartie : — " Jan. 1643. — Heu Ross of Tollie, with tua of his seruandis, died
suddenlie in ane chamber in the Castell of Cromartie, and was bureit at Feme the
secund of February the said year." It was in the year 1772 that the old Castle
of Cromartie was taken down by Mr. George Ross, soon after his acquisition of
the barony.

On a bank to the east of Cromartie House there are the ruins of a place of
worship, called Saint Regulus' Chapel, which is supposed to have been the family
chapel of the Urquharts.

Under the Grandvale and Cromartie branch it has been shown that Lord
Tarbat put Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, who was his second surviving son, into posses-
sion of the Barony of Cromartie, and the fate of the ancient Castle and the sub-
sequent history of the barony are there stated. Captain William Urquhart of
Meldrura had a Crown Charter of resignation and adjudication of the lands in
the year 1750. They were sold to Patrick Lord Elibank in the year 17G3, and
were acquired from him by George Ross of Pitkerrie, Esquire, a gentleman of
great talent and energy of character, who had amassed a large fortune in England
as an army agent. He owed his first advancement to Lord Mansfield ; and is
alluded to in no friendly terms in the celebrated letters of Junius as " George
Ross the Scotch agent." He got a disposition of the lands and barony of
Cromartie from Lord Elibank and others, dated the 18th April 1772. Mr.
George Ross greatly improved the estate of Cromartie. He was succeeded by
his nephew, Mr. Alexander Ross. From him the estate has come to be inherited
by the present owner. Colonel Ross.

The burgh of Cromartie was a burgh royal. In the year 1661 it was erected
of new into a burgh royal. But the inhabitants finding themselves burdened
with the proportion of tax laid on them for their privileges and trade, which
came to £6 Scots a month, petitioned the King and Parliament to receive a
demission of their privileges as a burgh royal. By Act of Parliament, dated
lOtli July 1672, the town was expunged from the list of Burghs Royal, and
ordained to have no commissioner to the Estates or Convention of Royal Burghs.



451



THE BAEONY AND MAK^SION OF EOYSTOX,

NOW CAROLINE PARK,

In the Parish of Cramond and County of Edinburgh.

'YT/'HEN attending to his Parliamentary and official duties at Edinburgh, Lord
Tarbat's residence was the mansion-house of Royston, now called Caroline
Park. It is situated in the east side of the parish of Cramond, and the grounds
form part of the southern boundary of the Firth of Forth, of which, from
the mansion and the gardens, very commanding and beautiful views are
obtained.

In the fourteenth century, the lands of Granton belonged to the family of
Mehille, who, as owners of Mehdlle, were amongst the earliest settlers in the
county of Edinburgh. On 26th November 1379, John de Maluil, Lord of
Maluil, granted to John de Maluil, son of John de Maluil of Carnebie, his lands
of Grantoun by their right marches, together with other lands, for which he was
to render homage and fealty, suits at his Court at Melville, etc. Among the ser-
vices which the grantee had to render were two men-at-arms, one with horse and
hauberk, and the other with horse without hauberk. The charter is granted at
the manor-place of Meluil.^

The family of Melville appear to have possessed the whole lands of Granton.
These came afterwards to be divided into Easter and Wester Granton. The
latter was retained by the Melvilles till the year 1592, when Sir John Melville,
younger of East Carnbee, sold Wester Granton to Mr. John Russell.

Three hundred years before Granton had become the great harbour that it
now is, it was selected by the Lord High Admiral of England, in 1544, as the
principal station for the armament of King Henry A'lii. of England, which was
sent with the land forces under the command of the Earl of Hertford to take
vengeance on the Scotch for their refusal to consent to the matrimonial alliance
between Prince Edward of England and Queen Mary, then a child of two years.
Granton House, or Granton Crag as it was called, was also the headquarters of
' Original Charter, Granton "Writs penes Duke of Buccleuch.



452 THE BARONY AXD MANSION OF ROY ST ON

the English forces before they took possession of Leith, and the whole district
suffered severely by the ravages of the invaders.

In the sixteenth century, Easter Grantoun, then called Koyston, belonged
to Andrew Logan, of the family of Logan of Eestalrig. He sold the lands
of Easter Grantoun to Walter Henryson, Writer to the Signet, in the year
160L His son, also named Walter Henryson, assigned the lands in wadset for
£1333, 6s. 8d. to David Johnskin, merchant in Edinburgh. James Johnskin, his
second son, acquired the lands in the year 1652, in consequence of Thomas Henry-
son having refused to enter heir to his father, Walter Henryson. James Johnskin
held the lands only for seven years, having sold them in 1659 to Patrick Nicoll,
merchant in Edinburgh. Two years afterwards, on 15th June 1661, Patrick
Nicoll obtained a charter from King Charles the Second, erecting Easter Grantoun
into a Barony, to be called Royston. Patrick Nicoll settled, in 1669, the barony
on his only daughter Margaret and her husband George Graham, younger of Lich-
brakie, to whom she was married on 16th March 1665.

Mr. and Mrs. Graham sold the barony, along with a piece of ground
called the Golden Acres, in the adjoining parish of Saint Cuthbert's, in 1683,
to Lord Tarbat, at the price of £2111, 2s. 2d.; and, on 16th June 1685, he
obtained an Act of Parliament ratifying his right to the lands and barony of
Royston.^

Li the course of two years after his purchase, Lord Tarbat built the mansion
of Royston, having the j^rincipal entrance on the north side. The pillars of a
handsome gate, leading to this north entrance, still stand a short way to the north,
and near the margin of the Firth. About ten years later, in 1696, he made large
additions to the south front, on which his name, and that of his first wife, as
Viscount and Viscountess of Tarbat, in large bold letters, still remain in very
legible characters. The house was then the most extensive mansion in the dis-
trict, and one of the largest in the three Lothians. The edifice forms an oblong,
enclosing a court measuring one hundred and seventeen feet in length on the
east and west sides, which are irregularly built. The south court is ninety
feet long, and is the most ornamental part of the mansion, the general appearance
being similar to that of the Tuileries of Paris. The ceilings of the drawing-rooms
on the west side of the house are adorned with paintings in good taste, and the
initials of Lord Tarbat and his first wife are placed in several parts of the ceiling.
^ Acts of Parliament, vol. viii. p. 511.








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IRON RAILING IN STAIR OF ROYSTON HOUSE.




MONOGRAM OF GEORGE, VISCOUNT TARBAT, AND MARGARET, COUNTESS OF WEMYSS, ABOVE

SOUTH DOOR— ROYSTON HOUSE.




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GAZA CONa:ST/E MIHILI
IMPENS/L USUI SUNT
CUM GLEBIS
AUGEMTUa ET LABORES

in nostrum ergo
etamicobum solatium
xuguriolum hoc
edificare curarunt
Gejorgius lt Anna
., . vicecomites a takbat ,

J^ , / j h ANNO /LK/l CHRIST K8J.
'/T // ^i\ IMTRA TUM H08PES ,1
-NAM HOSPITIUM EST
NUNC NOSTRUM
TUNC AETERIUS
. ^, POSTEA VERO

\c ' NECSCIO NEC CURO CUiUS • ^^
- -■^-^l NAM IMULLl CERTA DOMUSi | \
/^ j W2jendam t-rso (dum licef efii^bem \, ^f



/



^ ;/i y






^

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^





INSCRIPTION ABOVE NORTH DOOR OF ROYSTON HOUSE.



THE BARONY AND MANSION OF ROYSTON. 453

The time of the building of Royston by Lord Tarbat is shown on tlie north
and south fronts. Above the north entrance door there is placed a stone bearing
the following inscription : —

GAZ^ CONGESTiE NIHILI

IMPENS/E USUI SUNT

CUxM GLEBIS

AUGENTUR ET LABORES

IN NOSTRUM ERGO

ET AJMICORUM SOLATIUM

TUGURIOLUM HOC

EDIFICARE CURARUNT

Georgius ET Anna

VICECOMITES A TARBAT

ANNO -ER.E CHRIST: 1685,

INTRA TUM HOSPES

NAM HOSPITIUM EST

NUNC NOSTRUM

TUNC ALTERIUS

, POSTEA VERO

NEC SCIO, NEC CURO CUJUS
NAM NULLI CERTA DOMUS
VIVENDUM ERGO (DUM LICET ESSE) BENE.

The original draft of the inscription is among the Cromartie Papers. It is
holograph of Lord Tarbat, and written on the fly-leaf of a letter addressed " For
Mr. William Denune, minister of Pencaitland." It is added here to show the
variation between it and the inscription as finally engraved on the stone.

Gazse cougestae nihili impensse usui sunt

Si glebas et labores accumulassem

Tugiiriolum ideo banc

In suuni et amicorum solatium

.^idificare curarunt

Georgius et Anna vicecomes et vicecomitissa de Tarbat

Anno ^■Erffi Christians 1685.

Intrate turn nam hospitium est



454 THE BARONY AND MANSION OF ROYSTON.

Tunc nostrum, nunc alterius,

Post mortem nee scimus nee ciiramus cujus

Nam nulli certa domus

Vivendum ergo (dum licet esse) bene.

The original inscription may be thus translated : — -

Riches unemployed are of no use ; but made to circulate, they are produc-
tive of much good. Increase of property is accompanied by a corresponding
increase of care. Wherefore for their own comfort, and that of their friends,
George and Ann, Viscount and Viscountess Tarbat, have caused this small cottage
to be built, in the year of the Christian era 1685. Enter then, guest, for
this is a hoiise of entertainment ; now it is ours ; soon it will be another's ;
after our death, whose we neither know nor care ; for none has a certain
dwelling-place : Therefore let us live well, while we may.

There is a tradition that when Lord Tarbat had finished the building of his
mansion, he called it Kingstown, as a piece of vanity, and that the then Viscount
of Kingstoun complained of the name as a usurpation of his title. The name was
then changed to Royston, the first syllable of which in French signifies king ; but
this tradition has no foundation in fact. The original name was Easter Gran-
toun, or the east half of the barony of Grantoun, the west half of which barony
bounds with the other half. The east half of the barony of Grantoun Avas erected
into the separate barony of Royston in 1G61, as already stated, several years
before Lord Tarbat purchased it.

After Lord Cromartie ceased to be Secretary of State in the reign of Queen
Anne, and when his attendance was not so much required in Edinburgh, he
formed the plan of selling Royston to Government as a permanent residence for
the Lord Chancellor. In his correspondence with the Earl of Mar, then Secretary
of State, as to the sale. Lord Cromartie stated that the building of Royston had
cost him upwards of £6000.^

Lord Cromartie explains the advantage of having Royston as an official
residence for the Lord Chancellor. He says, " One evil in our government now
is, that the Lord Chancier, beeing the first wheel in the ministry, and by whose
absence the government is oftymes at a stand, and at best must move unequally —
their haveing the convenience of a convenient house, gardens, and parks, and some
rent at the door, in the seat of the government, with excellent healthfull situation,
takes away pretence of goeing to his country, tho' perhaps at a distance, or
rather will invite the succeeding chanclers to stay more fixtly at the helm." ^
1 Letter, vol. i. p. 307. 2 Letter, vol. i. p. 304.



Although that scheme was frequently urged by Lord Cromartie on Lord Mar
while he was Secretary, it was never carried out.

After an experience of a few years of Royston as a residence, Lord Tarbat felt
annoyed by the trespassers on his grounds from the footpath along the seaside.
For remedying this he obtained, on 13th May 1685, an Act of the Scottish Par-
liament for changing the highway. The Act narrates a petition which had been
presented by Lord Tarbat mentioning that there is a bridge on the water of
Cramond for the better passage of travellers betwixt Edinburgh, Leith, and the
Queensferry, yet divers persons do not make use thereof, but come in a private way
by the seaside, which being at first only for the private use of the heritors of Roy-
ston, leads directly in by the gate of Royston House, whereby he is injured in the
destruction and cutting of his planting and breaking of hisg.'irdens and enclosures.
The gate is no public highway, nor at all fit for carts, coaches, nor carriages, and
scarcely for a single horse to ride. A Committee of Parliament was appointed
to inspect the way, with power to stop it at such places as they think expedient. -"^

By an entail, dated 28th November 1688, Lord Tarbat provided the barony of
Royston to his third surviving son, James Mackenzie, afterwards Lord Royston,
and the heirs-male of his body ; whom failing, to the second and eldest sons of
Lord Tarbat and the heirs-male of their bodies ; whom failing, to the heirs-male
of the body of the granter.

On the marriage of Lord Tarbat with the Countess of Wemyss, an arrange-
ment was made with his son James Mackenzie, whereby the Countess was provided
in the liferent of Royston, and the heirs-male of their marriage in fee ; Avhom
failing, to the heirs specified in an excambion between Lord Tarbat and his son
James.^ On the death of Lord Cromartie in 1714, without issue by the Countess
of Wemyss, Lord Royston inherited the barony, and enjoyed it till the year 1739,
when he obtained an Act of Parliament to enable him to sell it. The Act pro-
ceeded on the narrative that it Avas necessary to sell the barony in order to pay
the debts affecting it. John second Duke of Argyll and Greenwich purchased
the barony for about £7000.'^ The Duke built the addition to the north-west of

1 Acts of Parliament, vol. viii. p. 473. Royston, it was held tLey were bound to

2 Cromartie Writs, Bundle 2 Z, No. 439. account to the heirs of entail for the price of

3 In a lawsuit at the instance of Sir George the barony, which price is still held under
Mackenzie of Cromartie, nephew of Lord the entail of Lord Cromartie of 1G88.
Royston, against the representatives of Lord



456 THE BAROXY AND MANSION OF ROYSTOX.



the principal mansion for his establishment of servants, horses, carriages, etc.
His Grace also ornamented several of the rooms in the sonth side of the mansion
with heraldic bearings of the Argyll family, and also landscape views of Edin-
burgh, as it was in his day. One of these views represents the North Loch below
the Castle of Edinburgh as a large sheet of water, of which there is now no trace on
the spot ; and the site of the New Town of Edinburgh is represented by a farm-
house and fertile fields. That picture of Old Edinburgh has been lately transferred
to Dalkeith House. The Duke of Argyll changed the name of Eoyston to
Caroline Park, in memory of the Queen of King George the Second, to whom, while
Princess of Wales, his second Duchess, Jane Warburton, was a maid of honour.

The Duke of Argyll died at Sudbrooke, in Surrey, on the 4th of October 1743,
in the 65th year of his age, and the barony was inherited by his eldest daughter
Lady Caroline Campbell, who married Francis Earl of Dalkeith, and their
descendant, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, is now the owner of Caro-
line Park, as well as of Wester Grantoun, which is divided from Easter Grantoun
by a small rivulet. Wester Grantoun was formerly the property of Sir Thomas
Hope, Lord Advocate to King Charles the First. Grantoun House was the
residence of Sir Thomas when he dreamed and interpreted his dreams in the
remarkable manner detailed in his Journal or Diary, which was printed for the
Bannatyne Club. The House is now a picturesque ruin, situated on the summit
of a rocky height on the shore, commanding fine views of the Firth. Wester
Grantoun was also purchased by John Duke of Argyll from the owner, who
acquired it from the successors of Sir Thomas Hope. Easter and Wester
Granton are now included under the general name of Caroline Park.

On a part of the barony of Royston the Duke of Buccleuch has formed the
Harbour of Granton at a vast expense. It is a splendid and capacious Harbour,
and a great public benefit.^

1 After the death of the Duke of Argyll, in Stone " in the rivulet near Royston House,

1763, till 1780, the mansion-house of Caroline but no trace of that stone now remains : —

Park was occupied by Sir James Adolphus M. S.

Oughton, K.B., Deputy Commander-in-chief Ossian

of the Forces in Scotland. Having mastered P. P. D.

the Gaelic language, he became a zealous Celt. Celeber.

asserter of the authenticity of the poems of J. A. O.

Ossian, and in honour of that bard had the P.
following inscription })laced on a " Gray



TRE BARONY AND MANSION OF ROYSTON. 457

Besides his several mansion-houses in the country, Lord Tarbat had a town
house in the city of Edinburgh. In the year 1686, he purchased from Thomas
Eobertson, one of the magistrates of Edinburgh, for 18,000 merks, the third
story of the great buildings then recently erected from the Parliament Close at
the north to the outmost of the south side, comprehending three rooms which
look to the Parliament Close, with thirteen other rooms, and two cellars under
the Parliament Close.^

In the year 1701, Lord Tarbat was owner of another tenement, Avhich was
situated in the " Land Mercat " of Edinburgh.^

After his marriage with the Countess of Wemyss, Lord Tarbat provided her
ladyship in his Edinburgh house, which is described as that upper lodging in the
back-land on the south-side of the " Land Mercat," in MacMorran's Close, as then
possessed by the Viscount and his Countess, and cellars and vaults belonging
thereto ; and also a fore-tenement of land in the south-side of the High Street.^

1 Contract of Sale, 5th January 1686. — [Cromartie Writs, Bundle 2 D, No. 196.]

2 Notarial Instrument, 11th February 1701. — Ylbkl. Xo. 197.]

3 Disposition, 28th March 1702.— [/6ffZ. No. 198.]



VOL. II. 3 M



458



ANNEXATION OF THE BARONY OF TARBAT AND THE VISCOUNT
OF TARBAT'S OTHER LANDS IN ROSS-SHIRE TO THE SHIRE
OF CROMARTIE IN 1G85 AND 1690.

npHE old shire of Cromartie appears to have been erected at a very early period
-^ of history. The office of sheriff was long hereditary in the family of
Urquhart of Cromartie. In the Regulations for the Government of Scotland by
King Edward the First in 1304, the Sheriffdom of Cromartie is mentioned in
these terms : — " De Crembathyn — Mounsieur William de Mohant, qui est de fee
viscunt." That is, " of Cromartie — Master William of Moliant, who is sheriff of
fee," or heritable sheriff. Mr. Nimmo says the name here is much disfigured
by successive transcribers, but it could be discovered that the Urquharts of
Cromartie had a separate jurisdiction here at that date, and he therefore trans-
lates Mohant as Urquhart. But he was probably not aware that Mowat was
owner of a part at least of Cromartie in the thirteenth century, and that William
Mowat, and not William Urquhart, was the sheriff. The office of sheriff of the
shire, as well as the ownership of the burgh of Cromartie, was, as already stated,
granted by King Robert the Bruce to Hugh Ross, son of William Earl of Ross,
in the year 1315.

The original shire was a very small district, and comprehended, — 1st, the
Avhole parish of Cromartie ; 2d, The parish of Kirkmichael, with the exception
of the farms of Easter Balblair, and perhaps Kirkmichael (which form a tract of
nearly one mile in length and half a mile in breadth, on the point of land at
Invergordon Ferry), which is considered a part of Ross ; and 3d, The farm of
Easter St. Martin's, in the parish of Cullicudden.

The shire was thus a tract of about ten miles long, and an average breadth
of one and three-quarter miles. The area therefore was only seventeen and a
half square miles, being the smallest county in Scotland. It was enlarged to
its present dimensions by the annexations which were made to it by the first
Earl of Cromartie while Viscount Tarbat. By these annexations the shire of
Cromartie has now a territory fifteen times its former extent ; but these annexa-
tions consist of many detached parts. In all bills relating to roads, bridges, etc.,
it has been found necessary to include all these annexations in Ross-shire.^

1 Tliird Report of the Commissioners for Highland Eoads and Bridges, A])pendix U.



AXXEXATIOX OF LANDS IX liOSS TO CRO MARTI E. 459



An Act of Parliament was passed in favour of George Viscount of Tarbat on
the 4tli of June 1685, disjoining the barony of Tarbat, Little Fames, and his
other lands in the barony of Delny, with the lands of Wester St. Martin's, Easter
Belblair, and the ferry belonging to George Dallace of St. Martin's, from the
sheriffdom of Ross, and annexing them to the sheriffdom of Cromartie, and
appointing the burgh of Cromartie to be the head burgh of the shire.^ In the same
session of Parliament Lord Tarbat got a ratification of the offices of constable of
the castle of Cromartie, of sheriff and bailie of the shire, with the patronage of the
kirk and school of Cromartie.- In the next session of Parliament, however, on the
14th of June 1686, an Act was passed rescinding the above Act, and redinte-
grating the sheriffdom of Ross, and declaring the bounds thereof to continue as
they were established in 1661.^ But on the 19th of July 1690, an Act was passed
in Parliament, in favour of the Viscount of Tarbat, reannexing the barony of